Date: Thursday, December 13, 2001 8:50 PM The comm beeped softly in the Emperor’s throne room. “Vader is here,” the voice of the aide reported. The Emperor’s throne pivoted as the double doors swished open. Vader strode in, his cape flowing behind him, and came to a halt at a reasonable distance from his master. "This is an unexpected pleasure, Lord Vader." “Majesty, I heard that Dani of Zeltros would arrive here soon.” The Emperor leaned forward and smiled at the Dark Lord. "Did you now? And why would you want to get involved with this...Zeltron?" “Let’s just say that I have an interest in her,” Vader answered evasively. Palpatine chuckled at his champion Dark Lord. "So the rumors are true....your interest in this red-skinned tart *is* a great deal more than meets the eye." Suddenly the Emperor's amused smile turned downward into a nasty frown. "Such things are beneath you, Lord Vader. Remember who you are!" The Emperor leaned back into the shadowy recesses of his throne and stared down the Dark Lord of the Sith. “I know who I am. And you are not involved in my interests,” Vader rumbled softly but dangerously. "Is that so? I think I am *very* much involved with your ‘interests’, Lord Vader...I am still your Master, and my power exceeds your own. If this Zeltron continues to stir you up, I suggest you adjust your emotions and act like the Sith Lord you are! Your Dani is not in danger...at the moment. If she completes the mission I set her on, she will be left alone. If she tries to trick me, she will pay the consequences. She knows that; I know that; and *you* know that." The Emperor looked at Vader, standing before him, and chuckled softly to himself. Vader did not move. “I am a Sith Lord, and I have always done your bidding, with no questions. But my time and interests are mine.” "So, you *are* in love with her! Well, now.... This certainly is a side of you I hadn't seen before, Vader." Palpatine's pale finger pushed a button on the armrest console. "Bring in the female Zeltron, the one waiting in the wings. Now." The doors whooshed open, and Dani's lovely silhouette could be seen between two Red Guards as they roughly dragged her inside. Vader stared at the Emperor and then at Dani. "Ah, yes,” the Emperor said. “Here she is, Vader.” He paused. “Well, aren't you going to give Dani a kiss hello, or some such nonsense?" Dani wrenched free of the guards and smoothed her hair, and then looked up at Vader, stunned to see him there. "You look lovely, Dani of Zeltros,” the Emperor said with a snort. “I have been expecting you." Vader rounded on his Master. “Why is she brought here like this?” "It wasn't on my agenda, I assure you, Vader. *You* gave me the idea with your ridiculously romantic plea." “Why are you doing this to her?!” Vader repeated. "I've brought Rachel here, as you insisted. I have done what you required of me," Dani stated coldly, her chin raised high despite her distraction of Lord Vader’s presence and his outburst of anger. The Emperor rose from the throne and slowly moved toward the guarded Dani. Then he lifted her chin with his pale fingers. "They told me you had delivered Rachel. I know she is down in the detention block somewhere. I'm sure the cameras have followed her every move. But let us concentrate on you--" Palpatine turned toward Vader with a scowl-- "and him." “You will let her go! She has done what you asked. Let her go!” Lord Vader demanded. "No, Vader, I will not leave,” Dani said. “Not until I have Khevyn and Trehvor at my side again." Her eyes lingered on Vader distractedly, her feelings for the Dark Lord close to the surface. "All in good time, Vader. You know, it's curious to me, your emotions for Dani. Why don't you tell me more about it? How you came together in the first place...and if it's something to worry about? I can't imagine how Azarra, your own daughter, would react knowing you were consorting with this...Zeltron." Dani’s eyes blazed at the insinuated insult in the Emperor’s voice. “How we met is no concern of yours,” Vader replied. “ Azarra will not worry about what *I* do.” "You see, Vader? Dani came because she wants to free her friends. That is the lure, and that is the cure. I used her, and now she is using you." "No!" Dani cried out. "That's not true!!" She backed toward the doors a few steps, confused and alarmed. “Dani, wait,” Vader said. “I need to speak with you.” Turning his attention back to Palpatine, the Dark Lord said evenly, “ You are mistaken, Majesty, about many things.” "Then enlighten me, Lord Vader. With the truth." “The truth? You don’t know the truth. You’re always twisting it to suit your plans!” Dani looked from the Emperor to Vader, torn. She needed at all costs to get her men freed! But Vader's presence distracted her so much; and the heat in the argument between the two men frightened her. She knew what they were both capable of. "In some cases 'twisting' is required; but in this matter, I have an open mind. Having Dani as your mistress in court would be interesting, to say the least. Her Zeltron male friends could become Imperial citizens if they chose to serve. And we could all become one big happy 'family' now, couldn't we?" “Why not simply put her in my hands and let me deal with her?” Vader’s voice was soft. "No, NO!” Dani protested. “Your Majesty, you made a deal with me to release my men!" “Yes, Your Majesty; why don't you keep your word to her?” Vader rumbled. Dani looked hopefully at Vader, wondering if his words would have any effect on the Emperor's decision. “Why don't you keep you so- called word, and release them and Dani to myself?” Palpatine and Darth Vader locked gazes with one another for a long moment. Dani slowly inched her way over to stand just behind Vader.
Members Only Main Page
What's New Page